yeah, we're just better then awk!

Bengt Kleberg <>
Tue Mar 4 12:53:17 CET 2003

> Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2003 04:41:07 -0500
> From: Shawn Pearce <>


> I definately see your point that these tests do real work
> for which quite a few programs exist in product do.  (I couldn't
> live without wc, sort, etc.)  However, my (poorly) made point was
> more to the "these programs are all fairly small" when talking
> about lines of code to solve a problem, and performance of
> language to solve said problem.

please read the paper that ''started'' the whole project:
this will probably explain the assumptions behind the tests.


> I felt it was unfairly biased against languages
> which tend to have higher startup costs, I wouldn't see these used to
> solve the kinds of problems the shootout throws at them, for exactly
> that reason:  they just take too long to startup compared to other
> languages, but lines of code wise they are equal.  I guess in that
> context the language shootout is a big success, as it shows what
> many of us feel we inherently "know" about these tools:  who would
> use Java to count the number of words in a file given the amount
> of memory it needs and the time it takes to startup/shutdown
> relative to native C?

the major benefit of this project is that small (few users) languages
get a chance to show that they are faster than c (which nobody will
belive. some peopel still refuse to belive it after having read the
results). moreover, small langugages can also show how much more
readable they are than perl (which is the only well known high level
language (again, some people still think java is the only high level


> Just as we tended away from assembly to C, we'll tend to higher level
> languages than C soon enough.  Hardware is getting so fast and compilers
> are getting so good that its just a matter of a few years before people
> do seriously consider writting `wc' in Java.  What a sad, sad day that
> will be.  :)

say that, for some reason, java is not the next c (eg, the language that
everybody knows about, and that everybody uses since it is the lowest
common denominator). this reason just might be that enough people saw this
test and noticed that other languages than java are:
1 higher level
2 faster
3 more readable (arguably this follows from 1, but think apl)

bengt, who does not expect this to happen

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